A Hempstead village police officer and school board member was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than $6,500 from the fire department where he was a volunteer, Nassau County prosecutors said.
Randy Stith, the fire department’s former treasurer, pleaded not guilty at county court to charges in a 13-count indictment that included grand larceny, falsifying business records and official misconduct.
“This defendant’s alleged theft of funds that were intended to buy emergency equipment and support the lifesaving work of volunteer firefighters is an outrageous betrayal of the trust placed in him,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Authorities said the 27-year-old made 12 unauthorized cash withdrawals from the bank account of HVFD Southside Hose 2 beginning in February 2015 and before he was fired from the volunteer fire department in January of this year.
Stith, who’s a probationary member of the Hempstead Village Police Department, also allegedly submitted a forged recommendation letter in April 2015 to the Nassau County Civil Service Commission, according to investigators.
He was disqualified from civil service on grounds unrelated to the charges, but to persuade the commission to rescind the disqualification, he filed a forged letter of recommendation purporting to be signed by another member of the fire company and asked the commission to use the letter in determining his character, prosecutors said. He was sworn in as a police officer last year.
Stith currently serves as a trustee of the Hempstead Union Free School District, which issued a statement about his arrest.
“Hempstead School Board Member Randy Stith is someone who has given years to public service and deserves the benefit of the doubt,” the statement read. “However, these are very serious allegations and if the charges are proven true, then the School District and School Board will have to address it immediately.
“We do not want to rush to judgment as our system is firmly grounded in the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty,” the statement continued. “As the allegations do not involve any events that took place on school grounds or at school events the District cannot comment any further.”
Judge Teresa Corrigan released Stith without bail. He is due back in court June 1. He faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted of the most serious felony he’s facing.